Thought & provoking
Disarming design from Palestine (DDFP) is a not-for-profit platform. We perform as a design label, fostering thought-provoking design from Palestine. The project focuses on designs created in conscious and integrated ways, which speak of the reality they are manufactured in.
Through our global network, we aim to take these narratives worldwide. Often rooted in a story or incident encountered in day-to-day life across occupied Palestine, the designs perform as cultural objects and conversation starters in exhibitions, symposia, academia, media and other places of learning. How can design contribute to emancipation, liberation and just ways of being in the world?
Disarming & design
For us, a ‘disarming’ manner is an anti-hierarchical approach, defying dominant and oppressive power structures. ‘Disarming’ positions design as a cultural tool to oppose authority, and create knowledge with affection, desire and imagination. In the context of Palestine, ‘Disarming design’ is an approach to design that upholds Palestinian narratives in the face of the systematic oppression caused by the Israeli occupation.
DDFP puts forward designs with a presence and narrative that open our gaze, and stimulate critical thinking. We centre Palestinian voices and utilise our network to amplify them. It is a way to trigger reflective moments and open conversations that encounter the anchored realities the designs embody.
Our starting point is workshops in Palestine, or, as we like to call them, ‘create-shops’. They bring together local and international designers, and craftspeople. During these create-shops we share narratives which counter the global, mainstream discourse on Palestine. We seek to uncover meaningful connections and patterns that help us better understand our histories and imagine shared futures.
Together we develop contemporary designs based on existing manufacturing processes, with local resources and techniques. As such, DDFP aims to connect with craftspeople, providing work, agency, fair pay, networks, thus preserving the heritage of making. One of our levers is countering the marginalisation that artisans and designers suffer from, no matter how active they are, as a result of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Past & present
DDFP started as a project in 2012 in collaboration with the International Academy of Art Palestine, the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, and Annelys Devet, with the support of ICCO. Since 2015, we are registered in Belgium as a not-for-profit association, and work directly with Palestinian producers, designers and organisations.
With a local team we ran a Palestinian non-profit company from 2015, based first in Ramallah, and then in Birzeit where we established a lively community center for two years: Hosh Jalsa. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and we had to close the center, which was no longer financially viable. Since then we work in a decentralized manner and continue our activities with different local actors.
The project has continued to advance positively since its inception, and we remain open to arising opportunities. Networks of designers and design education platforms eagerly engage with the project, as it tangibly gives involved communities shared spaces to learn, exchange and grow, produce, and benefit financially.
Collaboration & network
We value collaboration and co-creation of knowledge, and therefore often join forces with people, collectives and initiatives with whom we share common creative and political grounds. For substantial social change, we believe in building other ways of exchanging, rather than reproducing behaviours and patterns that come from, and contribute to, oppression.
Collaboration partners include: the Palestinian Museum; Birzeit University; Ramallah Municipality; Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem; Eltiqa Group, Gaza; Open Studio, Khan Younis; BFTA; Dar Laila Publishing; Darat Al Funun, Amman; Amman Design Week; VCUarts, Qatar; The Mosaic Rooms, London; MacGuffin Magazine; The Prince Claus Awards; Onomatopee; Droog bv; Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; Design Museum, Ghent; Sint Lucas School of Arts, Antwerp; and WIELS, Brussels.
We run the organisation currently with a small committed team of volunteers, collaborating with a broad network of friends and supporters from Palestine and beyond. The designs are regularly produced by an array of craftspeople and designers in Palestine, and shipped to Belgium, where we take care of the distribution and sales.
Today, the core structure is self-sustainable, through the sales of the designs, as well as occasional donations, generous volunteer work and a minimum of overhead costs. Producers are directly and fairly paid for their production, and Palestinian designers receive royalties for the sales of their designs.
Annelys Devet is the glue that ties us all together. She initiated the project in 2012 and has been developing it since: organising and facilitating create-shops, connecting designers, visiting craftspeople, taking care of shipments, and carrying all the lessons that DDFP has to teach through an array of cultural encounters.
Julia Mrad has been around DDFP since 2020. They are a bit of a bee, deploying storytelling and translation skills, as well as catalysing for collaborations and social encounters. They also take care of the sales orders and customer contact.
Elettra Bisogno is a designer, filmmaker and activist. Since 2020, she has done video work, design assistance, and cared for the sales orders.
From 2015 to 2020 Ghadeer Dajani managed the production and designs; developing prototypes into high quality designs with a growing knowledge and network of the best artisans in Palestine. Mohammed Abusal coordinates the design work and production in Gaza since 2015. Raed Hourani ran the organisation in Birzeit from 2018 to 2020 and developed a lively program in our community center Hosh Jalsa. He stood on the shoulders of Mohammad Saleh and Sami Khaldi who registered the organisation in Palestine in 2015, based upon the collaborative work with the International Academy of Arts.
The board of our Belgian non-profit association consists of Annelys Devet, Hildegard Devuyst, Kurt Vanbelleghem and Yazan Iwidat.
This project has been initiated in collaboration with Khaled Hourani and the International Academy of Arts Ramallah. Through the committed work of Sami Khaldi, Mohammed Saleh, Mohamed Abusal, Wisam Hourani, Ghadeer Dajani, Majdal Sobeh and Raed Hamouri the organisation and network has truly fostered.
This would not have been possible without the inspiring, constructive and generous input of Alia Alrosan, Hazem Alqaddi, Callum Copley, Derk Byvanck, Dr. Jean Calder, Francisca Khamis, Inês Marques, Ingrid Rollema, Isabel Zoetbrood, Joud Toamah, Juliette Lizotte, Kathrine Nicolaisen, Manar Nakleh, Michael Jabareen, Mieke Zagt, Mirelle van Tulder, Moniek Driesse, Natalia Lopez Lopez, Petra Van Brabandt, Qusai Alsaify, Rudy Luijters, Samah Hijawi, Suzanne Groothuis, Teresa Palmieri, Tommaso Anceschi, Wisam Hourani and many more who joined in making other futures possible.
V&A Blog, Mariam Rossen-Owen, 16 June 2021
Pandemic objects: Keffiyeh mask
PALESTINE MONITOR, Patty Diphusa, 27 August 2019
Summer School of Design in Palestine
DEZEEN, Augusta Pownall, 12 July 2019
Disarming Design from Palestine is first design school for the West Bank
DOMUS, Giulia Zappa, 14 June 2019
Design in Palestine: an interview with the Disarming Design collective
MENA CATALYSTS, Leila, 31 January 2019
Disarming Design from Palestine
1 April 2019 تصاميم من فلسطين
MO MONDIAAL NIEUWS, Alice Devenyns, 27 February 2018 Disarming Design: Alles is verbonden met politiek
HENRY VAN DE VELDE AWARDS, Design Flanders, January 2017
HVDV 2016 – Disarming Design from Palestine
ONOFFICE, Grant Gibson, 8 December 2017
Grant Gibson reviews the Checkpoint Bag by Disarming Design From Palestine
AMMAN DESIGN WEEK, December 2017
Disarming Design from Palestine
WORKS THAT WORK, Kurt van Belleghem, December 2017
Reaching beyond borders
تصاميم من فلسطين,
12 October 2016, Dooz Nablus
- Where can I buy your designs?
- On this website you find the full collection of products that are in stock, and at the ‘retail’ section in ‘contact’ on our website you can find the list of places that have a selection of our products in their shops.
- The money goes to craftspeople, designers, as well as development and operation costs. Craftspeople are paid for their labour and resources invested in producing the designs. Palestinian designers benefit from royalties on their designs. Operation costs include shipping items from Palestine to our warehouse, packaging, promotion as well as a voluntary remuneration for our core team.
- How can I support?
- You can support by keep talking about Palestine, spread the word of DDFP, bu and/or sell our designs, amplify the narratives, keep up with our events, or by making a donation.
- How can I join the summer schools?
- For the moment, there are no summer schools or create-shops planned, but follow us on social media for immediate updates.